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Unfolding Independence: Is India Really Free?

While so many have fought hard to give us freedom, is this the kind of freedom people in India always wished for?  

After 73 years of independence, are we proud of the freedom that we have today? Our generation is quick and competitive. Everybody is in a race, and we are running towards goals which are perishable. We have seen the development taking its course, politics being played out, people being asked to leave their land, and voices have been shunned. 

The question is, is India really independent

Imagine living in a place where a person belonging to a majority, fails to comprehend and read the signboards, the government documents, and medicines you need to take. You want to take admission in a college, or give a job interview, one of the basic criteria or rather a mandate, is speaking in English. 

Harshdeep Ghanshyam, from Bardakala, Chhattisgarh, feels that we still don't give importance to Hindi language. “Our national language is Hindi, yet we give job interviews in English.”

There is a subtle discrimination people in India are oppressed by. The situation becomes dire in small towns, villages, and tribal regions. It has become exclusive, that for one’s prosperity in any field, we cannot deny that English is integral for communication. 

According to the latest UN report, an estimated 17 million people are living abroad, making India the largest source country for international migrant. This number includes unskilled labours, who are forced to migrate because of lack of jobs, and lack of sufficient wage. India also has one of the lowest female workforce participation rates in the world. 

In a country where women are fighting so hard for equal pay, their under participation is evident. Rooted patriarchal social norms, restricts women’s agency, mobility, and freedom to work. 

Even when they do start to work, they are occupationally compared, and underpaid. Not to forget, the kind of threat, discrimination, and abuse they face,  because of their gender. Liberty of spending their own hard-earned money is also not their discretion. 

“My in-laws don't give me my share of money, which I earn. I just get Rs. 50, But I wish, I get at least, 2 days of money for the 4 days work so that I can buy things of my own choice and use, then only I will be free” said Bhumika Sahu, from Biltikari, Chhattisgarh, works as daily wage labourer. Bhumika often feels restricted, that she is not able to do what she wants,  

There are so many people like Harshdeep and Bhumika, who are a part of an independent country, yet fight every day from problems of unemployment, poverty, unequal pay, patriarchy, whether or not to send daughters to school, and then question themselves, “are we really independent?” 

Let's look around, and see how are we celebrating independence. In several parts of our country, people suffer due to lack of basic facility of roads, electricity, medical assistance, and education. While we walk down the road of development, above are the few questions to ponder upon. 

 

Video made by Community Correspondent Bhan Sahu

Article by Grace Jolliffe, a Member of VV Editorial Team. 

 

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